Rescue Me: Episode 15
Our heroes’ hard work is finally paying off as their plans to take Guseonwon down begin to fall into place. But they’re not out of danger yet, as Sang-mi, Dong-chul, and Sang-hwan each make choices that show just how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish their common goal.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
We rewind a bit to the end of the last episode, where a drugged and beaten So-rin stumbles to the river to meet Sang-hwan. Seeing headlights ahead, she waves to the vehicle to stop, but instead of Sang-hwan, Disciple Jo stops the van and gets out, commenting on his good luck in finding her.
So-rin tries to flee, but Disciple Jo grabs her by the hair and drags her into the nearby river as she screams and tries desperately to break free, losing one of her shoes in the process.
Disciple Jo forces her head under the water and keeps it there until she stops struggling. “I hope you go to paradise and gain salvation,” he says to her lifeless body, still face down in the water.
Sang-hwan arrives on the scene, but when he can’t find So-rin, he texts Dong-chul, concerned that something might have happened to her.
Walking back to his scooter, Sang-hwan’s phone rings. On the other end, a voice struggles to say his name. “Mom?” he asks, his eyes going wide.
Meanwhile, Disciple Jo carries So-rin’s corpse over his shoulder as he makes his way down the road and into the woods, keeping a lookout for possible witnesses.
Back at Guseonwon and dressed in her all-black Spiritual Mother attire, Sang-mi meets with Dong-chul in the hall. He whispers that So-rin escaped, but he’s worried because she hasn’t met up with Sang-hwan yet. “For now, let’s wait until he calls us,” she responds.
After Dong-chul leaves, Sang-mi takes a breath, tidies her hair, and enters the sanctuary, where the congregants are already seated. One of them asks if Sang-mi has seen Disciple Kang, who is supposed to lead the day’s vigil, but Sang-mi replies that she will be leading the service today.
As Sang-mi begins her sermon about overcoming her sins and happily accepting her role as Spiritual Mother, Dong-chul, sitting in the audience, realizes that Disciple Jo is absent. He eventually arrives, but Dong-chul notices that he’s wearing different clothes.
At the same time, Sang-mi welcomes Father Baek to the stage to thunderous applause from the audience, while Dong-chul stares suspiciously at Disciple Jo.
Meanwhile, Ji-hee briefs Yong-min on their joint venture to build a hospital with Father Baek. She also suggests moving Yong-min’s wife as a way of controlling Sang-hwan, who she heard is causing trouble at Guseonwon by going to the police and working with Detective Lee against them. Yong-min muses that he misjudged his son by thinking that he was too young to do anything, and Ji-hee replies with a smile that Sang-hwan won’t be able to do much if they control his mother.
Inside the hospital, Sang-hwan rushes to his mom, who he finds lying on the floor. When he asks if she moved by herself, she grips his shoulder and stammers out the words, “Your… father… where is he?” We don’t hear the rest of the conversation, but Sang-hwan leaves the hospital in a bit of a daze before yelling in frustration.
Sang-hwan calls Man-hee to help get Mom out of the hospital and to his uncle’s house, and Man-hee readily agrees. Jung-hoon is doing well but still recovering, so the two boys leave him alone to rest while they go out.
Sang-mi visits So-rin’s room only to find it empty, and witnessing the two women thoroughly cleaning it reminds her of how Jeong-gu’s room was cleaned after he died. When she asks why they’re cleaning the room, they tell her that Disciple Jo asked them to do it.
Dong-chul comes up behind Sang-mi and tells the women that Disciple Kang is urgently looking for them. After they leave, Dong-chul shares his suspicion that something bad happened to So-rin. Sang-mi tells him that like So-rin’s room, Jeong-gu’s room was cleaned after he was murdered, remarking, “Killing someone is no big deal for these people.”
Afterward, Sang-hwan receives a text from Dong-chul saying that something must have happened to So-rin. Having just pulled up to the Muji Daily building, Sang-hwan goes in to investigate.
Meanwhile, Dong-chul sneaks into the Guseonwon laundry room to look for clues. He finds the clothes that Disciple Jo had been wearing earlier and, rifling through the pockets, finds a lighter with the words “Bixie Karaoke Bar” written on it. He notices the clothes are sandy and wet and remembers his instructions to So-rin to escape towards the river, now fearing the worst.
At the Muji Daily office, Sang-hwan tells So-rin’s superior that he was going to help So-rin escape, but she never showed up and can’t be contacted. He also reveals that since the chief of police, Guseonwon, and even his father are all in cahoots, it’s likely that any missing person report they’d file would go unprocessed. Sang-hwan suggests instead that Muji Daily write an article about So-rin going missing after infiltrating a religious cult.
Handing Sang-hwan a voice recorder, the reporter asks Sang-hwan if he’s really willing to disclose everything that he has told him. When Sang-hwan silently nods, the reporter stresses, “You’re basically strangling your father with your own hands.” Sang-hwan responds by asking, “If I tell you that I can’t do it, will you be able to bury the truth after fully knowing it?”
Sang-hwan’s meeting with the reporter is cut short when Man-hee calls him from Mom’s hospital room to tell him that she’s not there, causing Sang-hwan to bolt up and leave.
Night has fallen by the time Dong-chul makes it to the bridge and river where So-rin escaped to, but he only finds the shoe that came off when Disciple Jo dragged her into the water.
At the same time, Sang-hwan confronts his dad. After Yong-min says he moved Sang-hwan’s mother to a better hospital because he was worried about her, Sang-hwan pulls out her voice recorder and plays just one of the many cruel things his father said to his mother:
Yong-min:“Remember when I pushed you? Do you know how it made me feel? The thrill you get when you slaughter an animal. That’s when I realized how much I really hate you.”
Faced with this damning recording, Yong-min first claims that it’s a misunderstanding, then demands the voice recorder from him. Sang-hwan refuses and tells his father, “Don’t forget all the things you’ve done, because you’ll have to pay for all of them.”
Ji-hee looks nervous, but tells Yong-min that Sang-hwan will not be able to disclose the tape if he finds out that they’ve hidden his mom. Yong-min responds by reminding her, “You and I are on the same boat, you know. If they take me down, you’ll go down with me. You got that?”
Detective Lee gets a phone call from Yong-min, who tells him that he needs him to hunt someone down, and his eyes grow wide when he hears that the governor wants him to go after his own son.
In town, Dong-chul goes to Bixie to find out more about Disciple Jo. With the pretext that Disciple Jo asked him to retrieve his wallet for him, he chats with a hostess, who tells him that “Wan-tae Oppa” is a regular, but hasn’t been there today.
Outside the hospital, Sang-hwan gets a call from Ji-hee, who tells him that he can see his mom if he hands over the voice recorder. Without hesitatio,n he shoots back, “If you lay even a finger on my mom, I’ll teach you a lesson. Understand?”
As soon as Sang-hwan gets off the phone with Ji-hee, Joon-gu greets him, saying that they have business to take care of. Joon-gu demands that Sang-hwan give him the voice recorder, but Sang-hwan just tells him to get out of his way.
As Sang-hwan passes him, Joon-gu puts a hand on his shoulder to stop him. Sang-hwan bats his arm away and slugs Joon-gu’s jaw, followed by a punch to his stomach. Joon-gu doubles over momentarily, but kicks Sang-hwan in the side before he can strike again. Pinning one arm behind his back, Joon-gu gets Sang-hwan in a stranglehold and doesn’t let go until Sang-hwan nearly passes out.
Sang-hwan gasps for breath as Joon-gu finds the voice recorder in his back pocket. He explains to Sang-hwan, “I have to take this to make some money off of it, okay?”
After Man-hee helps him up, Sang-hwan asks the hospital receptionist if she knows where his mom was transferred, but comes up empty-handed. As he walks out, he remembers his dad’s empty promise from three years ago: “If I become the governor, your mother will wake up again.”
Faced again with the same dilemma, Sang-hwan tells Man-hee, “Three years ago, I made a wrong choice because of my mom, and I couldn’t help Sang-mi or Dong-chul. I don’t want to regret the same thing again.”
Meanwhile, Officer Choi has found the bribe money in the box of deer antler extract given to Officer Woo by Disciple Jo. Alone in the squad car, she looks again at the box’s contents with dismay.
Detective Lee hands over Mom’s voice recorder to Ji-hee and Yong-min. Yong-min listens to the recording with headphones, but it is not what he expected to hear.
Sang-hwan: “If you’re listening to this, you must have done something you shouldn’t have. Father, I have trusted you until the end. But now I know that misplaced trust can be dangerous. Now I know exactly how it can hurt so many people.”
Hearing his son’s words, Yong-min rips the headphones from his ears and hurls the voice recorder to the ground.
At Guseonwon, Officer Choi argues loudly with two female cult members outside of Father Baek’s office, but they all fall silent when Sang-mi’s dad opens the office door with Father Baek right behind him, who calmly invites her in.
Once inside, Officer Choi angrily explains that Officer Woo is like a father to her and insists that Father Baek stop taking advantage of him, saying that she won’t let it slide if he continues.
Father Baek reminds Officer Choi of all the homeless people Officer Woo cares for, and of his family. “Do you think it would be okay if a father-figure like him gets hurt because of you?” Baek asks her. Rather than subjecting Woo and his family to the world’s criticism, he suggests that she just go home quietly.
After his encounter with Officer Choi, Father Baek goes to the cell of the drunk that Officers Woo and Choi once brought to Guseonwon. The imprisoned man cowers before him, but Father Baek lays his hand on his head and promises the man freedom and paradise if he does his job well, before telling him to go out and find satan the devil in the form of a female police officer. The man nods and repeats, “Satan the devil. Female police officer.”
Outside the dungeon, Father Baek calls Yong-min about the protestors he’s been encountering, explaining that many of the protesters are Guseonwon believers. Father Baek promises to “lead such believers well, ” presumably to encourage them to stop protesting. When Yong-min asks what he can do in return, Father Baek thinks about Disciple Jo and asks for a “loyal guard that will be able to protect New Heaven’s God.”
Cut to: Detective Lee instructing Joon-gu to go to Guseonwon. Detective Lee tells him to watch Father Baek until the governor gives his orders, to which Joon-gu responds, “Is the governor trying to become the master of everything? Gosh, he’s greedy.” Detective Lee replies, “Have you seen anyone who’s not?”
Back in their one-room hideout, Jung-hoon sits up in bed and thinks back to the night he saw his father take a bribe from Disciple Jo. He then looks at his change of clothes, as if wondering whether or not to go out.
Meanwhile, Sang-hwan meets with Detective Lee and asks for his help finding So-rin. Lee is surprised that the reporter is also involved with Guseonwon, and tells Sang-hwan that he will start investigating Guseonwon the next morning. Sang-hwan’s job is to bring his friend and show him where Guseonwon keeps people locked up.
Sang-hwan meets with Dong-chul in the woods near Guseonwon and tells him of his and Detective Lee’s plans. Dong-chul is skeptical, guessing that the Guseonwon leaders may have moved the prisoners after Jung-hoon’s escape.
He tells Sang-hwan that if they do not catch them tomorrow, he will reveal his identity to get himself locked up and try to look for others who have been imprisoned. Sang-hwan objects to his friend’s dangerous proposition, but Dong-chul insists that there is no other choice.
Having left the apartment, Jung-hoon stops by his father’s police station, but since his father is out, the officer at the main desk asks Jung-hoon to keep an eye on things for a few minutes.
Jung-hoon quickly figures out the combination to the lock on his dad’s desk drawer (Jung-hoon’s birthday), and finds a box of deer antler extract, but with no money inside. He locks the drawer right before his dad walks in, and luckily, a potentially awkward conversation with his dad is averted when his dad gets a phone call and rushes hurriedly out the door.
Back in Guseonwon, Disciple Kang finally wakes up from her tranquilizer-induced sleep, thanks to Dong-chul’s earlier interference. She reads a note she finds in her hand: “If you want to know where that reporter went, come look for me quietly.”
Walking groggily back home, Disciple Kang finds Dong-chul waiting for her. She asks why he keeps trying to get in the way, but instead of answering, he poses his own question, “Do you really believe that Spiritual Father will lead you to paradise? Or do you just wish to believe so?”
Telling Disciple Kang that he heard she once sacrificed her own daughter to become Spiritual Mother, Dong-chul suggests that Disciple Kang expose him if she really believes in Father Baek. “But if you wish to see if he’s real or fake,” he continues, “you should sit back and watch. Because we’re going to reveal that he’s fake.”
After Dong-chul leaves, Disciple Kang calls out to New Heaven’s God worriedly, “You’re going to burn all the bad sins in this place with your hot fire and make it into a brand new place, right?”
In town, Officer Woo meets Officer Choi in a parking garage, where she confronts him about taking bribes from Guseonwon. They go back and forth arguing until Officer Woo sees an armed man approaching Choi from behind. Officer Woo manages to push her out of the way, but is stabbed by the man in the process, and we see that he’s the drunk Father Baek sent.
Officer Choi grabs the assailant’s arm and, with some struggle, brings him to the ground. As she handcuffs the man, he mumbles, “Satan the devil! You must die in order for us to get to paradise.” Wounded, Officer Woo lies on the ground looking at the deranged man and recognizes him from their encounter years ago.
Jung-hoon rushes to the hospital to find that his dad is okay, since only his hand was wounded. Repentant, his dad asks Jung-hoon not to hate him and to listen carefully to what he has to tell him, but we don’t hear what he says.
The next morning, Detective Lee, Sang-hwan, and a team of investigators pull up to Guseonwon’s main building. Disciple Jo and Sang-mi’s dad lead them to the dungeon, but they claim it’s just a remnant from the Korean War, and no one’s inside.
As they return to the main building, they meet Father Baek, Disciple Kang, Sang-mi, and Dong-chul out front. Father Baek asks if they found what they were looking for, and Detective Lee apologizes for causing a fuss. Father Baek just feigns innocence and accuses the police and Sang-hwan of defaming Guseonwon because they disagree with their religion.
Frustrated by the lack of evidence, Sang-hwan talks back to Father Baek, who remains as cool as ever. Sang-mi’s dad chastises Sang-hwan, and Dong-chul stops Sang-hwan from approaching Father Baek and causing a scene. Still acting like he’s on Guseonwon’s side, Dong-chul tells him to leave while looking him straight in the eye and giving an almost imperceptible shake of his head.
Later, Dong-chul and Disciple Jo meet with Father Baek in his office. They find Joon-gu there as well, and Father Baek announces that Joon-gu and Dong-chul, as gatekeepers of paradise, will be his new guards. Disciple Jo does not seem pleased, particularly when Joon-gu briefly blocks his path to leave the office, explaining that he’s “gatekeeping.”
Outside the office, Joon-gu tells Dong-chul that Father Baek asked the governor to send someone to guard him. “That means he doesn’t trust anyone here,” Joon-gu concludes. Dong-chul is also surprised to learn that Joon-gu knows Disciple Jo from meeting him at the Bixie Karaoke Bar.
Before they part, Dong-chul warns Joon-gu that Guseonwon is not an ordinary church, but Joon-gu just laughs and pats Dong-chul’s shoulder before walking away. Taking out Disciple Jo’s Bixie lighter from his pocket, Dong-chul looks at it and asks himself, “I wonder when he’s going to go here again.”
Catching up to Disciple Jo in the woods, Dong-chul claims to be worried about the police coming back to Guseonwon, but Disciple Jo tells him not to worry. He then tells Dong-chul that he will not be back tonight, and to call if he needs anything. At this, Dong-chul thinks that Jo must be heading to Bixie today, and once Jo is out of sight, Dong-chul lets Sang-hwan know.
As the Guseonwon van pulls up in town, we see Sang-hwan, Man-hee, and Jung-hoon lying in wait for Disciple Jo, and Sang-hwan is the first to get out of their truck to confront Disciple Jo.
Sang-hwan informs Disciple Jo that the police are going to investigate Guseonwon and that he will not be free much longer. Disciple Jo brushes off Sang-hwan’s words until he warns him, “If we find the person you murdered, the story will unfold differently.”
Based on the evidence that the boys pieced together, Sang-hwan tells Disciple Jo that he knows that he met So-rin at the river and killed her. Disciple Jo continues to laugh this off until Sang-hwan tells him that they have a witness and recorded testimony as he gestures toward his cell phone.
Disciple Jo suggests that he should check that recording, but instead of taking the phone, he sucker-punches Sang-hwan, then grabs him by the throat and pushes him up against a wall. He threatens, “You foolish scum. I even killed Hong So-rin. Killing you will be a piece of cake.”
At that moment, Man-hee charges at Disciple Jo, and just as Disciple Jo throws Man-hee to the ground, Jung-hoon comes at him in the same way. As Disciple Jo fights all three of the boys off, with Jung-hoon even desperately clinging to his leg to keep him there, a police car rolls up.
Detective Lee and other detectives break up the fight, and when Disciple Jo claims that the boys randomly accused him of murder and started attacking him, Sang-hwan plays the recording he just made of Disciple Jo confessing to So-rin’s murder and admits to bluffing about having a witness’ testimony. As for whether they acted in self-defense, Sang-hwan points toward the nearby CCTV camera to vindicate them.
With that, Detective Lee puts Disciple Jo under arrest, and it takes all the detectives to handcuff him and get him into the van. As the van pulls away, the boys huddle together to give themselves a congratulatory group hug.
Back at Guseonwon, Sang-mi meets Dong-chul in the woods, where he tells her about Disciple Jo’s arrest. He then insists that she out him to Father Baek to gain his trust, explaining that because he’s Sang-hwan’s friend, he’ll be locked up with other missing people who can provide crucial evidence against the cult.
Sang-mi balks at this and says that it’s too dangerous for Dong-chul, but he holds firm. She finally agrees, but then tells him that she’ll go through with her spiritual wedding with Father Baek: “I’ll record everything that disgusting jerk does to have me. It’s the most solid evidence we can get.”
Dong-chul asks her if she’s gone crazy, but she insists that she’s sane and that she finally has a clear idea of how to take Father baek down. Then she tells Dong-chul, “You guys should come to where I am. Just before he gets… what he wants, barge in and rescue me.”
When Dong-chul asks if she really has to do this, Sang-mi explains, “I came back here because I no longer want to fear them or run away from them. I plan to destroy this place with my own hands so that I can save Sang-jin, Mom, and Dad, who’s lost his mind because of those scoundrels. I will rescue them at all costs.”
Back in town, Disciple Jo takes a bathroom break from his interrogation and tells the detective guarding him that he needs help unzipping his pants. But when the detective opens the stall door to help, he gets yanked in, and we hear the sounds of someone getting a beating. Shortly thereafter, Disciple Jo exits the stall with no handcuffs, and proceeds to leave the building.
The detective comes running from the bathroom wearing the handcuffs and yells for someone to catch Disciple Jo. Disciple Jo punches and kicks his way past several policemen and runs out of the building, and once he spots him, Detective Lee joins the chase.
Before the day’s service, Dad meets with Father Baek privately in his office. Father Baek tells Dad that Guseonwon is filling up with evil energy that they must purify themselves of. If they don’t, he warns, the Boat of Salvation might sink—and if that happens, none of his family members will be able to reach paradise.
To prevent this, Father Baek continues, he and Sang-mi will have their spiritual wedding the next morning. Dad accepts this proclamation and leaves, and we see Father Baek’s hunched figure from behind. Silently at first but growing increasingly louder, Father Baek becomes consumed by his own maniacal laughter.
Outside the office, Disciple Kang stops Dad to ask what Father Baek said to him. When he answers that it was a new revelation about the spiritual wedding, she presses further and asks, “By any chance, did he say that the Boat of Salvation might sink?” Dad stares at her in surprise, while Disciple Kang has a flashback to the day that Father Baek had told her the exact same words he just told Dad regarding his spiritual wedding to her daughter.
At the service, Father Baek calls Sang-mi to come forward. She stands before him as he declares, “Tomorrow at dawn, you and I will have a spiritual wedding and become one.”
Sang-mi responds, “I will be at your service. My savior. My eternal life. My Spiritual Father.” She kneels before him, kisses his hand, and looks up at him. The audience, with the exception of a somber-looking Dong-chul, applauds and cheers with enthusiasm.
My head is still spinning from everything that happened in this episode. It was gratifying to see so many players working together to fool Disciple Jo into incriminating himself for So-rin’s murder, even though he seems to be on the loose again. It’s this kind of teamwork that has gotten our heroes this far, and the different roles that each of them play will be essential to bringing about Guseonwon’s destruction.
Sang-hwan has learned from his mistakes over the years and draws strength from his desire for justice. He is now adept at thinking ahead and outsmarting his enemies, and is still by far the most demonstrably emotional of our heroes. When he lost his temper with Father Baek after the failed search for captives in the Guseonwon, Sang-hwan exposed the fine line he walks between his emotions moving him to action or getting him into hot water.
Dong-chul, unlike Sang-hwan, is better at keeping his emotions hidden, and has so far successfully convinced the Guseonwon members that he is a true believer. His acting skills have allowed him to stay at Guseonwon and serve as the vital communication link between Sang-mi and Sang-hwan.
I find it amusing that although Dong-chul and Disciple Jo are different in almost every way, they both have the habit of putting on goofy smiles in order to fool others, only to turn back into scowling badasses as soon as no one is looking. I am curious and nervous to see how Father Baek and Disciple Jo will react when they find out Dong-chul’s true identity.
Sang-mi has proven to be the most enigmatic of the group, because in her quest to destroy Guseonwon, she has all but completely taken on the role of Spiritual Mother. We know her true feelings, but when she appears before the congregation, she is chillingly convincing.
Even so, Sang-mi had remained steadfastly defiant of Father Baek and the other leaders of Guseonwon until recently, so it would be surprising to me if they have been completely taken in by Sang-mi, despite her convincing performances. Perhaps Father Baek is so sure of his own power that he believes that has convinced her to change, whether through faith or intimidation.
On the other hand, Disciple Kang’s desperate belief in the Spiritual Mother bringing about salvation for her and her daughter has been steadfast, and she so far seems satisfied with Sang-mi as long as she does what she is told to do. But now that Disciple Kang realizes that Father Baek used the same lines on Sang-mi’s father that he had used to convince her to let him wed her daughter, this gives some hope that she may have a change of heart. Plus, now that she knows Dong-chul is an imposter and has heard what he has to say, it will be interesting to see what she will choose to do.
As we approach the final episode, Sang-mi and her friends are ready to give everything they have to take Guseonwon down for good. We will have to wait to see exactly how, and if, they can accomplish what they set out to do.
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